I’ve always thought that one of my greatest assets when it comes to training gym salespeople is the fact that I was terrible at it when I first started. Nothing came natural. I had to learn it.

Jim Thomas

If you truly want to become a good or even a great gym salesperson but it doesn’t seem to come naturally to you, I would like to offer a few things I’ve learned along the way that will help make a difference for you.

1. Know your club. Work out in your club. Use every piece of equipment. Take every class. Tan. Eat at the café. While you want to sell benefits, results and outcomes, prospects are always impressed by membership reps who care enough to know everything they can about their gym. Do you have an understanding of the member experience?

2. Know your competitors. Take the time to know who the competition is in your market. Be aware of the pros and cons of your gym. You never want to make a membership sale based on the flaws of other gyms in your area. The best way to do this is to speak respectfully about the competition, but then point out how your gym is the better value. I suggest having testimonials and examples to show your prospect.

3. Consultative selling. In this approach, as a consultant, you help identify the needs and desired outcomes of your prospect and then suggest solutions that meet those needs. Stay focused on the needs of your prospect and not your desire to get a new membership sale. The best advice? Help enough people in the world get what they want, and you’ll get what you want.

Related: Jim Thomas: Why Your Gym Needs a Sales Process

4. Be prepared. The majority of the work happens before you meet your prospect. Never practice on the paying customer. Role-play the club tour. If needed, create a “cheat sheet” so you’re sure to ask all the necessary questions. Practice every day. Become a student of sales.

5. Ask questions. Don’t fall in the trap of talk-talk-talk and tell-tell-tell. If you overwhelm your prospect with information, you’ll most certainly help create objections. Your job is to probe and find out as much about your prospects as you can to help properly guide them in the decision-making process and remove any obstacles that might prevent them from getting the results they seek.

6. Dealing with objections. No matter what, your prospect will likely have objections to getting started today. The key here is to sell them on why they came into the club. Find out why their goals are important, what their desired outcomes are, and don’t open the door to other objections that will delay the decision-making process.

7. Choose to be coachable. Have an open mind about learning and be willing to step out of your comfort zone. This is the first thing I look for when hiring someone for membership sales.

8. Have a winning attitude. Look for solutions; don’t just define what’s wrong. Have a passion and urgency in how you do things.

9. Don’t prejudge. The definition of prejudging is thinking you know what the outcome will be before you even get started. The job description is to have a winning attitude and follow the system. 

10. Be honest with yourself. You must choose to be accountable. If you want to change others, you must first change yourself. Don’t blame circumstances for any struggles. Make it happen. It all starts with you.

Along the way, you’ll need stamina, resilience and a willingness to change rapidly.

Now, give it a try. You just might be a natural!


Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his website at www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomasondemand.com.